We were talking about sacrifice in Sunday School this morning and the teacher asked for examples of what we sacrifice today. I immediately thought of time, but then I remembered a quote from Elder Neal Maxwell that I had read this week that made me think of something even greater that we can sacrifice. This is what Elder Maxwell said:
"The submission of one's will is really the only uniquely personal thing we have to place on God's altar. . . . The many other things we give to God . . . are actually things He has already given us, and He has loaned them to us. But when we begin to submit ourselves by letting our wills be swallowed up in God's will, then we are really giving something to Him. . . . There is a part of us that is ultimately sovereign, the mind and heart. . . And when we submit to His will, then we've really given Him the one thing He asks of us."
In our lesson, we talked about various things we sacrifice like money when we pay our tithing, time when we do our callings and so on, but our will is the ultimate sacrifice we can make to our Heavenly Father. I think the bottom line really is making the choice to put the Kingdom of God first. This isn't always an easy thing to do, but if we are willing to do that He willingly rewards us and as Elder Maxwell said, if we let our will be swallowed up in God's will then we are really giving him something.
As church went on today, in Relief Society we talked about the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and our teacher brought up some quotes from President Boyd K. Packer's recent General Conference talk "Counsel to Youth" that really inspired me, he said:
The gift of the Holy Ghost, if you consent, will guide and protect you and even correct your actions. It is a spiritual voice that comes into the mind as a thought or a feeling put into your heart. . . . It is not expected that you go through life without making mistakes, but you will not make a major mistake without first being warned by the promptings of the Spirit. This promise applies to all members of the Church. . . . I say again that youth today are being raised in enemy territory with a declining standard of morality. But as a servant of the Lord, I promise that you will be protected and shielded from the attacks of the adversary if you will heed the promptings that come from the Holy Spirit.
There it was, the word "if" that seemed to be the key. If we consent, the Holy Ghost will protect us and even help us correct our actions. If we will heed the promptings, we will be protected and so on. It really is our choice as to what we will do and how we will be blessed based on those choices. I have always felt strongly about choosing to live the standards of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I just have known what I wanted in the end, so it was never really a hard choice for me, but I do know others who have struggled with this choice. If is a small, yet powerful word, it denotes our ability to make choices. Making choices always yields us something, either blessings or consequences.
There has been so much talk lately about the Mayan Calendar and the year 2012 and it really bothers my daughter. You see, she is from the graduating class of 2012 and to hear all this talk about "the end" just as she graduates can feel like there are no choices, no if's ahead of her. But she knows that "only the Father knows" when the end will come and just knowing that makes it more encouraging to move forward in her life and to make good choices. President Packer also said something in his talk that I thought was very encouraging to the youth of our day, to those that might worry about the state the world is in right now, he said:
Sometimes you might be tempted to think as I did from time to time in my youth: "the way things are going, the world's going to be over with. The end of the world is going to come before I get to where I should be." Not so! You can look forward to doing it right -- getting married, having a family, seeing your children and grandchildren, maybe even great-grandchildren.
My children have so much to look forward too, as do I. I pray that we will all make good choices and know that in the end, that if we make good choices we will be blessed greatly by a Father in Heaven who loves each one of us dearly.